Business Transformation Requires Transformational Leaders

Leadership and teaming skills are front and center in times of rapid change. Meet today’s constant disruption head on with expert guidance in leadership, business strategy, transformation, and innovation. Whether the disruption du jour is a digitally-driven upending of traditional business models, the pandemic-driven end to business as usual, or the change-driven challenge of staffing that meets your transformation plans—you’ll be prepared with cutting edge techniques and expert knowledge that enable strategic leadership.

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In this Advisor, Barbara A. Carlin delves into sneaky problems commonly faced by leaders. These problems are sneaky because cognitive biases that creep into our decision-making cause us to overlook their ethical implications. The biases detected in the decision-making problems illustrated here include nonmonetary transactions, the framing effect, and ill-conceived goals.
Leaders who demonstrate agility may be the cornerstone of our future — be it for a team, a company, or a nonprofit organization. In this Advisor, Cutter Fellow Emeritus Jim Highsmith offers some advice for preparing these agile-adaptive leaders.
Jeff Smith dreamed of making an Agile culture something you could learn, practice, measure, and improve. In this Amplify Update, the second in a series, we follow Smith as he moves from Suncorp to IBM and then World Kinect, defying conventional wisdom to lead these companies on a digital transforming journey. Even as Smith communicated the journey’s purpose simply and clearly, mandated culture change, radically reformed the middle management layer, and modernized delivery, he never forgot the importance of balancing performance with people.
This Amplify issue portrays the various levels in which character resides — individuals, groups, and organizations — and the processes that show how character manifests in organizations. It crosses three themes: (1) well-being and stress management, proposing that character leadership development and mindfulness training help individuals navigate complex organizational environments more effectively; (2) the strategic embedding of character to advance DEI initiatives and foster a culture of inclusivity; and (3) character resides in strategic leadership teams and high-performance teams, which has important implications for decision-making, the pursuit of excellence, and performance. Our aim is to bring character to the forefront of what it takes for organizations to be prosperous and sustainable, by elevating character alongside competence and commitment in the practice of leadership.
Natacha Prudent and Mary Crossan propose embedding leader character into organizations, asserting that the sustainability of DEI efforts depends on leaders reaffirming their commitment to character, suggesting it as a foundational element for both organizations and DEI initiatives: “corporate DNA.” The authors underscore the financial benefits of gender and ethnic diversity in leadership roles and use the Ivey Leader Character Framework (ILCF) as a tool aimed to guide leaders in introspection and development, emphasizing the role of character in driving comprehensive, sustainable change in DEI.
William Spangler delves into how CEOs’ humility and narcissism influence their behavior, focusing on dysfunctional behavior like fraud, crime, corruption, and bribery. With a sample of 190 CEOs and data collected from interviews and public sources, Spangler introduces a set of diverse CEO archetypes. The article differentiates between professional CEOs and entrepreneurial CEOs. Spangler describes how humility and narcissism can coexist in CEOs and shows how humility moderates narcissistic tendencies, reducing the propensity to engage in dysfunctional and negative leader behaviors.
James R. Rychard explores the essence of high-performance teams, emphasizing the role of collaboration and how it is rooted in social intelligence as part of the character dimension of humanity. After examining the threat of “dark triad” personalities to team dynamics, the article presents an exemplary case of socially intelligent leader Kazuo Inamori, former CEO of Japan Airlines, and extracts important lessons for the public sector. Rychard underscores the importance of investing in leadership development and fostering a culture of character to support collaboration in the public sector.
Trevor Hunter argues for the importance of leader character and instrumental skills in nonprofit organization (NPO) boards. The article explores distinctive duty-of-care expectations for NPO boards, emphasizing their role in protecting the organization’s mission and the quality of judgment required to navigate nuanced decisions. Hunter asks, “What are the implications for NPO performance if the board is not demonstrating leader character?” Examples illustrate how each of the Ivey Leader Character Framework (ILCF) dimensions can manifest in NPO board behaviors to safeguard the mission.